After the annual UN Climate Change Conference (COP) was cancelled last year due to the pandemic, pressure mounted to take bigger and better initiatives to improve the environmental health of the world. Water shortage, air pollution and global warming remain key threats that continue to threaten our long-term survival. As November approaches, world leaders must generate thorough policies to combat this ever-looming threat instead of preaching the need for immediate action alone.
A report titled ‘The State of Climate Services 2021’ by the UN stated that a water crisis will be the next immediate threat that the global community will face. Over 5 billion people will be robbed of access to fresh water by 2025 and the most impacted will be developing countries like Pakistan that are already struggling to meet local demand. The Advisory Committee of the Indus River System Authority (IRSA) already issued warnings that Punjab and Sindh will face a water shortage of 28 percent this season and this is just one estimate amongst countless reports all over the world. It is imperative that the COP26 addresses this concern and offers viable solutions that can be employed immediately.
Throughout the years, world leaders have also underestimated the devastation that comes along with climate change. It’s all encompassing nature has been particularly paralysing. Currently, we can only release 500 gigatons of carbon dioxide which is equivalent to 10 years of current emission rates. This is as bad as it can get because while before we could give vague estimates of when environmental degradation would happen, now we have a strict timeline that is elapsing before our eyes.
Taking precaution and implementing preventative policies is the responsibility of all countries, perhaps the developed world more given that they have all the resources to facilitate change and lead others to the same path as well.
Source: Published in The Nation